Neil Hickey did a story for the Sunshine Coast Daily last week on the three best things Australia has given the world. He started from a line in a Ken Burns documentary, that the UK’s leading contributions are tea, the presumption of innocence and the English language; and that the US’s are baseball, jazz, and the Constitution.
In the case of Australia, I nominated the fair go, the secret ballot (which the rest of the world calls the Australian ballot), and Australian crawl. My reasons are here. But this prompted a friend of mine, Peter Fyfe, to put forth three of his own:
Irony. By the truckload. Served so dry it’s anhydrous. We didn’t invent it, but we sure cornered the market. It’s a land where, at least once, every redhead is called Bluey, and every giant Shorty. You
can’t beat an Aussie pulling your leg and ragging you out. And it may be our last line of cultural defence against the US, who will never understand irony like we do, which has so many amusing possibilities. Lose your sense of irony and you’re in danger of joining the…
Tall Poppies. This is the perfect way to rid your nation of wankers who, knowing they won’t be taken seriously, get off the island. We’ve successfully rid ourselves of all manner of posers in the process, the termagent Greer being the archetype. It also keeps us honest. Aussies don’t mind success, just not puffed up success. Aussies don’t mind good art, just not puffed up wankers and the wrong sort of elitists. Our national sport of taking those who take themselves too seriously down a peg or two actually means artists and thinkers have to keep it real, for genuine fear of being found out. And the best place to cut down a tall poppy is at a…
Sausage sizzle. There is no occasion great or small not improved by a sausage sizzle. Defiantly unpretentious, cheap, and cheerful, It allows the dignitary to rub shoulders with the dag, The ideal place for the paranoid Aussie to socialise without feeling too threatened and for the powerful to slum it. If the UN ran more Aussie style sausage sizzles, peace and hramony would shatter the earth.